When Brian Flores decided on Tuesday morning to go ahead and insert Tua Tagovailoa into the starting lineup, relegating Ryan Fitzpatrick to the bench, I didn’t expect that I’d be writing this blog. But, when Fitzpatrick was asked by the media how he felt about the whole thing, Fitzpatrick didn’t hold back his human emotions, the ones we all have.
Man. Tough to watch. Here's Ryan Fitzpatrick explaining why he's heartbroken over the Dolphins QB decision. pic.twitter.com/4KjVnVZIgN— Clay Ferraro (@ClayWPLG) October 21, 2020
There’s plenty of blue checkmarks and non-blue checkmarks alike who are all over Fitzpatrick for how he is dealing with this. They’re calling him a baby and telling him to put his big boy pants on and all that. I say have some perspective and maybe not be try and carry yourself like such a tough guy who loves hearing bad news.
I’m not saying that my heart breaks for Fitzpatrick or that we should be handling him with kid’s gloves. Fitzpatrick is 37 years old and has been benched plenty of times. He knows what kind of business he’s in, and he fully understood that this would eventually happen. I’m saying that I understand how bad it feels to be doing well at something and then, seemingly out of nowhere, get told you can’t do the thing that you’re doing well at anymore. I don’t know how this isn’t understandable.
And don’t act like y’all wouldn’t be crushing Fitzpatrick if when the media interviewed him, you know the interview he has to do for his job that you don’t have to for yours, was all gung-ho about getting benched after winning his last two games and throwing 6 TDs. You’d be saying that Fitzpatrick doesn’t care if he’s playing or not, that he’s fine with riding the bench and getting paid. Like me, everybody wants their athletes to be genuine and not lie to them. That doesn’t happen very much, and you get a bunch of canned answers, which I get why they do that. But, now you get a guy who bares his soul and tells you how he feels about a situation that directly affects him and you rip him for how he feels? Get out of here with that garbage. Like, go somewhere else and think about your life.
My favorite thing internet tough guys like to bring up about this situation and other situations similar is that they want to compare their jobs to those of professional athletes. They’ll say stuff like “if I were to get fired, nobody would care, or I wouldn’t be able to do that at my job.” Here’s a little truth bomb for you: your job is nothing like being a professional athlete. Your job is, probably, much more important than an athlete. Guess what, life isn’t fair. Deal with it. Guess what else, you, probably, can be replaced by 1000s of other people at the drop of a hat. There aren’t many people on the planet that can lead ten-play drives for TDs, while finely tuned athletic machines are trying to destroy them. It turns out; people don’t want to watch a teacher delivering a terrific lesson on the water cycle as compared to a football players throwing a ball. When you get fired, furloughed, laid off or whatever, there isn’t a camera crew looking to get your reaction of the ordeal. Why? Nobody gives a rip. Fitzpatrick has to answer questions about something he’s upset about. That’s part of the job, and he gave 100% genuine answers.
Here’s some really good perspective from Nate Burleson on the matter. He went through pretty much the same thing.
It doesn’t get much more insightful than that. Football players have feelings too. Yeah, they’re multimillionaires that we would switch lives within a second, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have emotions like everyone else.
Fitzpatrick will go to work and do everything to help Tua succeed. He’ll do everything that he’s said he does in mentoring him. He might not be jumping around as much on the sideline at first. Still, I would bet that when Tua throws his first TD, Fitzpatrick will be the first one to congratulate him, and the announcers will say, “this hasn’t been easy on Fitz, but he’s handled everything like a pro and that everyone loves him.”
How the locker room will respond to all of this will depend on if the team wins or not. If Miami wins against the Rams, we won’t be thinking about Fitzpatrick’s feelings. If they lose and Tua looks bad, well, I suppose there will be those in the media that will jump at the chance to call Flores misguided in his decision. That’ll be annoying, but it’s expected.
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